I See You Everywhere

I See You Everywhere

by Julia Glass

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Overview

NATIONAL BESTSELLER

A Christian Science Monitor Best Book of the Year


Julia Glass, the bestselling, National Book Award-winning author of Three Junes, returns with a tender, riveting book of two sisters and their complicated relationship.

Louisa Jardine is the older one, the conscientious student, precise and careful: the one who yearns for a good marriage, an artistic career, a family. Clem, the archetypal youngest, is the rebel: committed to her work saving animals, but not to the men who fall for her. In this vivid, heartrending story of what we can and cannot do for those we love, the sisters grow closer as they move further apart. All told with sensual detail and deft characterization, I See You Everywhere is a candid story of life and death, companionship and sorrow, and the nature of sisterhood itself.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781400075775
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date: 07/14/2009
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 304
Sales rank: 616,465
Product dimensions: 5.20(w) x 7.98(h) x 0.89(d)

About the Author

Julia Glass is the author of Three Junes, which won the National Book Award for Fiction, and The Whole World Over. She has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York Foundation for the Arts, and the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. Her short fiction has won several prizes, including the Tobias Wolff Award and the Pirate's Alley Faulkner Society Medal for the Best Novella. She lives with her family in Massachusetts.

Hometown:

New York, New York

Date of Birth:

March 23, 1956

Place of Birth:

Boston, Massachusetts

Education:

B.A., Yale College, 1978; Scholar of the House in Art, Summa Cum Laude, 1978

Read an Excerpt

Swim to the Middle1980I avoid reunions. I’m not a rebel, a recluse, or a sociopath, and I’m too young to qualify as a crank, even if it’s true that I just spent the evening of my twenty-fifth birthday not carousing with friends or drinking champagne at a candlelit table for two but resolutely alone and working, glazing a large ovoid porcelain bowl while listening to Ella Fitzgerald sing songs by the Gershwin brothers. (A crank could never love Gershwin.) My one real boyfriend in college, just before we broke up, told me I’m nostalgic to a fault. He professed contempt for what he called “the delusional sound track to our parents’ deluded lives.” He informed me that you can’t be nostalgic for things that had their heyday before you were so much as born. Just about any member of my family would have laughed him out the door and down the garden path.Family reunions are the worst—all that competition disguised as fellowship—and they’re also the hardest to avoid. But when my father’s Great-Aunt Lucy died last summer, there was an inheritance at stake, a collection of antique jewelry. Not the glossy priceless stuff—no diamonds, tiaras, or niagaras of pearls. Not things you’d sell but things so deliciously old-fashioned and stylish that to wear them makes you feel like a character from a Jane Austen novel or a Chekhov play. The one piece I remembered most vividly was a cameo, two inches square, ivory on steel-blue Pacific coral, a woman’s face inclined toward her hand, in her slender fingers an iris. Aunt Lucy had worn that cameo day and night, winter and summer, on lace and wool. Maybe she’d left us a charm bracelet, maybe earrings of garnet or Mexican silver, but mostly I wondered about that cameo. And wanted it. I’d wanted it since I was a little girl. One of my earliest memories is of sitting on Lucy’s lap, squirming to find a comfortable spot on her bony thighs yet happy to feel her kind honeyed voice in my hair as she talked with the other grown-ups gathered on her porch. She did not object to my poking and fingering the cameo, probing its fragile details: the woman’s eyelids and earlobes, the cuticles of her nails, the harmoniously wandering tendrils of her hair. She let me borrow it once, for a family dinner at a country inn.Because Lucy never had children, not even a husband, my father long ago became the one who kept an eye on her in the last decades of her very long life. Geographically, he was the closest family member by far; out of a large, tenaciously Confederate clan, they were the only two living anywhere you can count on snow. Once Dad decided to stay north, after earning two degrees at Harvard, the family lumped him together with Lucy: “How are the defectas faring up yonda?” a cousin might ask Dad at a wedding in Memphis or Charleston. Happily, their proximity blossomed into genuine affection.So Dad was the executor of Lucy’s will, which emerged from her bureau drawer along with a letter to my father that she’d written a year before she died. It began, To my splendid grandnephew Beauchance: Before I take my irreversible leave (which I suppose I will now have taken, strange to think), I am seizing this lucid moment to write down a few matters pertaining to the house and my ragbag possessions therein. I have little doubt that I shall have left the house in a rather sorry state, for which I apologize. Be charitable, if you can, to any bats or raccoons which may have colonized the attic or basement (though none to my knowledge have done so), and please take Sonny’s word on any tasks for which he claims I still owe him payment; our mutual accounting has grown slack if not capricious. . . .Over the phone, Dad read me the letter in its crisp yet meandering entirety, stopping now and then to chuckle. I heard no tears in his voice until the end, where she wrote, Whatever modest adornments pass for jewelry, I leave to your daughters, Louisa and Clement. I did not become as intimately acquainted with them as I would have liked, but I did know the satisfaction, one summer to the next, of seeing how they grew; as I wish I had seen you evolve in your youth. I wish I had known much sooner, Beau, that you would become the facsimile of a perfect son, a gift whose pleasures I wish I had been blessed to know firsthand.His voice cracked on the word gift, as if he didn’t deserve such gratitude, my father who will do just about anything for anyone, driving my mother crazy with all the favors he does for everyone else (including, as she likes to say, any random citizen of Outer Slobovia and its most godforsaken suburbs).I decided to fly across the entire country because I couldn’t bear the thought that if I didn’t show up in person, my sister might inherit everything—including that cameo—by default. On the plane, I tried to decide which of two equally vulgar motives, materialism or spite, had compelled me to buy a ticket I couldn’t afford to a place where I’d see no one I wanted to see. My life was not, as people like to say, in a good place—though, ironically, the place where I lived at the time happened to be Santa Barbara. So I made excuses and timed my visit to avoid the masses of cousins, aunts, and uncles who would descend on Lucy’s house to grope the heirlooms by day and drink too much bourbon by night. I may share their Huguenot blood, but not their bad taste in booze and their glutinous drawl. I will never forget how, when our grandmother died two years ago, the family marauded her New Orleans house with no more respect than the Union soldiers who stripped us all bare a century back. You’d think, with all our costly educations, the reconstructed Jardines would avoid civil wars. Well, ha. There was an ugly brawl, which featured weeping and a smashed lamp, over the Steinway grand. Someone with Solomonic intentions actually went so far as to crank up a chainsaw. I could not deal with that type of gathering all over again. Whether I could deal with Clem remained to be seen.My sister had been living with Aunt Lucy for what proved to be her final summer. After Lucy’s death, Clem stayed on while the relatives passed through, finishing up her summer jobs before heading back to college for her junior year. During the days, Clem worked in a bike shop and volunteered at a sanctuary for recovering raptors: birds, she’d explained when I called, that had been shot, struck by small planes, tortured by teenage boys. In the evenings, she kept an eye on Lucy—until her sudden death at the beginning of August. Not that our aunt was infirm, incontinent, or witless, but for the last several months of her life she was afflicted with an obstinate restlessness that sent her out after dark on urgent eccentric missions. Winooski, Vermont, is a snug, friendly place, so she wasn’t likely to be mugged or abducted. Nevertheless, reasoned Dad, who could say she wouldn’t do something drastic like sell her last shares of Monsanto and Kodak, head for the airport, and unintentionally vanish? I’d hardly spoken to Clem since moving out west two years before. After college, in pursuit of a man I’d prefer to jettison from memory, I hauled my pottery wheel, my heart, and my disastrously poor judgment from Providence to California. It was completely unlike me to do anything so rash; maybe, subconsciously, I was trying to get back at Clem by pretending to be Clem, to annoy her by stealing her role as devil-may-care adventuress. Whatever the reason for my tempestuous act, it backfired. Three weeks after I signed a lease and bought a secondhand kiln, the boyfriend shed me like a stifling, scratchy-collared coat. To keep up with the rent I’d fooled myself into thinking he would share, I gave up my car. After that, I sold a pitcher here, a platter there, but to stave off eviction I wrote articles for a magazine that told workaholic doctors what to do with their leisure time. In college, I’d been just as good with words as I was with clay, and one of my Brit-lit classmates had started this odd publication. People had laughed, but subscriptions to Doc’s Holiday sold like deodorant soap.Thus did I hold starvation at bay, but I also felt like the work kept me stuck in a place where I ought to love living but didn’t. Everything out there unnerved me: the punk shadows of palm trees slashing the lawns, the sun setting—not rising—over the ocean, the solitude of the sidewalks as I rushed everywhere on foot, carless and stared at. My inner compass refused to budge. North! it kept urging me. East! I’d just come to the conclusion that I didn’t belong there and never would, and I was feeling uncomfortable in my work, both kinds, but I had no intention of letting Clem in on my angst. My plan was never to trust her again, never to fall for her charms the way everyone else, especially men, seemed to do so fervently. And to snare that cameo. Maybe a string of pearls. Oh, Glenn Miller. I love him, too. What’s life without a little delusion?•If you’re to hear Louisa’s version of what went on last summer, you will also be hearing mine. Louisa’s worst side is the one I call the Judge. À la Salem witchcraft trials. There’s this look she gets on her face that tells the world and everyone in it how completely unworthy it and they are to contain or witness her presence. Beware! says that look. The Spanish Inquisition was Entenmann’s Danish!Her new life in Santa Ladeedabra did not seem to have mellowed her out one iota, because when I pulled up at the airport, that’s the look she was wearing, firm as a church hat, beaming her world-weary scorn clear across the state of Vermont. I was late, okay, which didn’t help. It didn’t help either, I know, that it was me picking her up.I wonder sometimes what kind of sisters we’ll be when we’re ancient (if we ever are). Olivia de Havilland and Joan Fontaine: before that visit, you’d have bet the hacienda we’d end up like them. Cold? Suspicious? Resentful? Ever notice how sisters, when they aren’t best friends, make particularly vicious enemies? Like, they could be enemies from the time they lay their beady little eyes on each other, maybe because their mother makes them rivals or maybe because there’s not enough love to go around and—not out of greed but from the gut, like two hawks zeroing in on a wren—they have no choice but to race for it. (Laws of nature, pure and simple. Be vigilant and survive. Altruism? A myth. Share? Oh please. Whatever it is that feeds the hunger, dive-bomb first, philosophize later.) Or maybe they grow apart in a more conscious way, maybe because their marriages clash: the guys they choose see each other as losers or sellouts; the women are helplessly loyal. But that’s not our story. No husbands yet, not even a hint of husband.I’ve always been the favorite—our mother’s, at least. Partly, it’s the animal thing: Mom grew up on a storybook farm where animals ruled life more strictly than clocks. And I happen to be the one who set my sights that way. Saving animals is all I’ve ever wanted to do. In fourth grade, I asked Mom to give me all her shoe boxes. A hospital: that was the plan. I cut windows in the ends of the boxes and stacked them in the bottom of my closet like high-rise condos. My first baby bird got the penthouse. Next day, he was dead. They almost always die, I’d learn. But that didn’t stop me. “You’re my daughter, all right,” said Mom when she saw what I’d built (though her tone made me wonder if the likeness was such a good thing).Louisa thinks this makes my life easy—being the favorite. She doesn’t realize that once you’re the disappointment, or once you’ve chosen a path seen as odd or unchoosable, your struggle is over, right? On the other side of the fence—mine—every expectation you fulfill (or look like you might, on purpose or not) puts you one step higher and closer to that Grand Canyon rim from which you could one day rule the world—or plummet in very grand style.•In the car, I let Clem do the talking. She was late to pick me up, and I was glad: it gave me a reason to sulk until I could get my bearings. I was glad to be back in New England, but I was cross-eyed with fatigue. I cannot sleep on planes. So Clem filled me in on the reading of the will and what she called the Great Divide: relatives clutching lists, drawing lots, swarming the house like fire ants. But this time there were no dogfights; everyone, said Clem, remembered the piano brawl.I hadn’t seen the place in five years, and when we arrived, I just stood on the walk and stared. It’s a Victorian, more aspiring than grand, and it had always looked a little anemic, but now it was a wreck. The sallow paint, formerly white, hung off the clapboards in broad curling tongues, and the blue porch ceiling bore the crusty look of a cave complete with stalactites. The flagstones were fringed with moss. The front steps sagged. That the lawn had just been mowed made the house look even more derelict. “How could Dad let her live this way?” I asked.

Reading Group Guide

“Rich, intricate and alive with emotion.... An honest portrait of sister-love and sister-hate-interlocking, brave and forgiving-made whole through art.”
The New York Times Book Review

The introduction, questions, and suggestions for further reading that follow are designed to enliven your group's discussion of I See You Everywhere by Julia Glass.

1. I See You Everywhere focuses on the relationship of Louisa and Clement Jardine. Describe each sister's character. How are they like and unlike each other—also, like and unlike their parents? What do their attitudes toward work, love, and family have in common? How do they differ?

2. Especially at the beginning, Louisa's sense of her own identity depends largely on her relationship to art-her pottery and writing; later on, her work with other artists as an editor and a gallery director. What does this say about Louisa? In “Coat of Many Colors,” why does Esteban's knitting speak so deeply to her? And later, in “The World We Made,” what does Clem and Louisa's conversation about Eva Hesse's art—about what lasts and what is fleeting—illuminate about the way each woman sees the world?

3. The story of these sisters begins at the end of someone else's story—Aunt Lucy's. In fact, you could see it as the story about another set of sisters. How does this section relate to the others that follow, and what dynamic does it create between Clem and Louisa? And what is the significance, throughout the book, of Lucy's enormous, well-kept secret? What role do secrets play throughout, especially in Clem's life?

4. Glass has chosen to tell this story through alternating perspectives and, from both sides, in first person. How does this affect your reading? How do you relate to both sisters and see them differently than perhaps they are able to see each other? Take a look at the different subtitles-from “Swim to the Middle” to “The Last Word.” What do they add, if anything, to your reading of the larger story?

5. Letter writing plays an important part in several sections (e.g., the letters Clem and Louisa write to each other, Clem's letters to Ralph, the letters Louisa finds from a high-school friend in an old box). How does letter writing create a different relationship between two people than e-mail does? Does a separate sense of Clem as a person emerge in her letters? What does it mean that Clem chooses R.B. as the recipient of her final, most significant letter? Read through that letter again. Do you think it has the impact she intended on those who will see it? Do you think she suspected that R.B. would not keep it to himself? Does the letter change the way you saw and felt about her up to this point in the book?

6. Cooking is meaningful in all of Glass's fiction. What role does it play in this book?

7. From the beginning, Clem acknowledges that she is her parents' favorite and feels this places a burden on her: “Every expectation you fulfill…puts you one step higher and closer to that Grand Canyon rim from which you could one day rule the world-or plummet in very grand style.” How does this feeling of expectation influence the way Clem leads her life? Describe the sisters' relationship with their parents. Do you see these bonds echoed in your own life, with your parents or children?

8. Clem's attitude towards dying is always cavalier; she makes light of death and even describes it once as a “state of respite.” Do you agree with Ralph, that she “needed to be fearless,” that her fearlessness was a screen for fear? If so, what do you think she feared so deeply? Why do you think she is able to desire for her sister what she herself avoids—a family, a steady relationship, a certain kind of calm?

9. Both Louisa and Clem have bodies that are marked—Louisa's by illness, Clem's by accidents. Describe their relationships to their bodies and their scars. How does their experience of illness and accident relate to their attitudes toward life and death? Why do you think Clem treasures her most dramatic scar? What role does Louisa's cancer play in the story? Do you think it has any influence on Clem's ultimate, fatal decision? At the end, Louisa acknowledges to Campbell that Clem was ill. Would Clem have agreed?

10. Clem says of Tighty that he “will never see the talents he's blessed with, only the ones that he yearns for.” Do you think this is true about Clem as well? If so, what are the talents she is blessed with, and which does she yearn for?

11. Although the primary relationship in this story is the one between Louisa and Clem, their ties to many other rich and varied characters are essential as well—ties to family, friends, colleagues, as well as lovers and husbands. Which of those other relationships strike you as the most pivotal in each woman's life?

12. Think of the men with whom the two sisters become romantically aligned: Luke, Zip, Hugh, Ray, Jerry, R.B., Campbell, and others. What do these various relationships tell you about these women at different stages of their lives? Do Louisa and Clem, despite their insistence on how differently they approach men, share a certain confusion when it comes to sexual and romantic desire? What does “love” mean to each sister?

13. Louisa yearns for children, yet she does not have them with either Hugh or Ray; in the end, she becomes a mother to her stepsons and godson. Clem doesn't want children-or, perhaps, will not let herself want them. Lucy has a child who is taken from her and grows up as her sister's son. May is, in an odd way, a mother figure to Tighty. Clem cannot help seeing the animals she works with as her dependents. Discuss the different facets of caretaking—parenting and otherwise—in this story. What do they say about families and familial responsibilities in the world at large? If you've read Glass's first two novels, Three Junes and The Whole World Over, how do the families in this new story relate to the families she's written about in the past?

14. “Everyone seems to know who I am, and what I think, but me.” Clem's statement suggests a divide from the world and the understanding she has about herself. Do you think others understand her well or not at all? How well does she understand herself? Do you think this statement could apply to the other characters as well? Which ones and why?

15. What do you understand about Clem through her relationship with the outdoors and animals? Do you think, as Jerry suggests, that she's “afraid of [her] animal self”? Do you think that Danny's death is what pushes her over the edge? Why?

16. Danny dies, ultimately, because of a congenital flaw in his heart, while Clem says about her own heart, “At my worst moments, I wonder if I know what a broken heart is—or a heart before it's broken. Maybe broken is all I know.” What about love makes Clem feel broken and unable to be whole? After Danny's death, she concludes that “the opposite of happiness isn't unhappiness….It's surrender.” What do you think about this idea?

17. At the end, Louisa says that “no one belongs to us, and we belong to no one-not in that sense. This should free us, but it never quite does.” Discuss this idea and how it fits in the novel. In what ways do we belong to one another? Relate this statement to what Ray says about Clem: “Nothing and no one were indispensable.” Are Louisa and Ray saying the same thing or something different about what we can and can't expect from the people in our lives?

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I See You Everywhere 3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 43 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved Julia Glass's first novel, Three Junes, and was really looking forward to reading another novel by her. This one is very disappointing. There doesn't seem to be a point to it, and I feel I'm taking up time unnecessarily by reading it. I'd pass this one up for something else.
Kaly More than 1 year ago
The love of a sister is puzzling. Somewhere between the boundaries of unconditional love, there is an abundance of jealousy, resentment, competition, and sometimes hatred. In Julia Glass's novel I See You Everywhere, she attempts to harness and explain the dynamics of this very relationship. Glass presents us with the lives of two sisters, Louisa and Clem. Although both stem from the same beginnings, blood seems to be the only thing these women share. The contrast is made starkly in the beginning chapters. Readers are puzzled as how Lou, a cautious bibliophile who loves art and literature and Clem, the wild child lover of everything wild and dangerous could be twined together at all. However, as the pages turn and readers find themselves stepping into the lives of Louisa and Clem we find that these sisters are much more analogous than could ever be previously comprehended. I was absolutely captivated by the writing of Julia Glass. One of the aspects that made this novel so reader-friendly was the format it was written in. I See You Everywhere is in sporadic chronological order written from alternating perspectives of the two sisters. This format is common in fiction works, but Glass truly utilizes the effect this writing scheme is supposed to project. The reader is forced to search the contrary sister's life for hints of the corresponding sister's life. Also, large chronological gaps provide injections of mystery and repel even the idea of the story dragging. Another approach to Glass's writing revels her mastery of human beings and their relationships. When we first meet Lou and Clem, they are in their early twenties and returning home to Vermont. Lou seems lost and spiteful to life, especially to her sister. She is an East Coast girl stuck in California after a college romance fizzled. Clem is a vivacious thrill-seeker with itch to save the world and all the animals who inhabit it. She has men at her disposal and is the clear favorite to her animal-loving mother. It almost seems like the readers are predisposed to love Clem and wonder why Lou can't get over her childish jealousies. The girls evolve into women and the once endearing traits of Clem betray her. Adventuresome turns into reckless and selfish. When I finished I See You Everywhere, I was shocked at how much my viewpoint of the women changed over the course of the writing without me even realizing it. To me, that is a mark of a truly great book. Being a sister myself, I was shocked at just how realistically Glass portrays sisterhood. When you pick up I See You Everywhere (and I recommend you do), you are not selecting easily dismissible sisterhood fluff. Glass stays true to life, undesirable traits we all possess, and the fact that we need each other more than we could ever realize.
LoraineD More than 1 year ago
I loved this book. The author had me from the very first page and held me to the last. This is a story of two sisters, one a wild, seductive adventurer the other a survivor. Written in simple, elegant prose the author takes us through a quarter of a century of their lives beginning with sibling rivalry and ending with heart-breaking sibling love and loss. The beauty and themes of this book, love, life, death, family, and devotion to nature haunted me for days after I put it down. I SEE YOU EVERYWHERE is a book I will read and reread and remember all my life.
fig2 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A study in sibling relationships, this novel span two sisters' lives. While Louisa and Clem are opposites, they have a bond that neither can define. Their story is told in connected vignettes from each sisters' viewpoint; revealing the burdens each have to bear. An unexpected and disturbing ending fits the tone of this insightful novel. A great read for sisters.
suetu on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I¿ve been laid up with an injury for several weeks, and I¿ve been reading up a storm. I have been FLYING though the pages. Julia Glass¿s I See You Everywhere dragged me to a grinding stop. It must have taken me two weeks to read this short 300-page novel. I know that sounds bad, but on the contrary, I thought the novel was phenomenal. I¿m not sure why it took me so long to read. What I can say is that the deeper into the novel I got, the more I liked it. And the longer the stretches of time that I devoted to reading, the more I liked it.The novel is a character study of two sisters, Louisa and Clem(entine) Jardine, who are very different women. I See You Everywhere spans 25 years of their lives, starting when Louisa is a surly 24-year-old, and Clem is only 20. Their story is told episodically, beginning in 1980, and skipping ahead years (or sometimes only months). Through viewing their lives through these snapshot windows of time, you see how radically their lives change and how the women change--and how they stay the same. The maturation of each of these women rang so true to me. For the most part, the chapters alternated between the points of view of each sister. In the beginning, it was tricky figuring out which one was talking, and frankly, trying to remember which sister was which. But as I got to know these ladies, that was no longer a problem. Often times, one sister would recollect an event we experienced first-hand through the eyes of the other, and I always found these overlaps, or recollections of past events already depicted, especially interesting. Each time we would check in with one of the characters, I¿d await with interest the clues that would let me know where she was in her life. Does she live in the same city? Is she with the same man? Does she have the same job? The answer was usually ¿no.¿ My life would be much the same if viewed every few years. It¿s easy to forget how much changes over time. This constant moving forward kept my interest up. While I wouldn¿t describe this as a plot-driven novel, at one point a development shocked me to the core. I yelled, ¿Oh my God, oh my God, oh my God!¿ alone in my apartment. While it was shocking, it was also believable. Take care what you read about this novel, so as not to ruin a considerable surprise.I found myself reading the chapter titles carefully. They were so clever, and often had multiple meanings. When I finally realized the full significance of the novel¿s odd title, I just loved it.I opened talking about how slowly I read this novel. Part of the reason may have been me just stopping to reflect on what I had read. Not so much the beauty of the sentences, but what struck me as some deeply truthful insights into the characters or into life in general. I have a feeling this novel will stick with me for a long time. I am one of two sisters. We really aren¿t very much like Clem and Louisa except that we are so unlike each other. I may have to share this book with her. So we can disagree about it.
nycbookgirl on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The story is about two sisters, Louisa and Clem. Louisa is the eldest by a few years. She's more reserved, creates pottery, and edits art magazines. She wants to find "the one" guy and have a family. Clem, on the other hand, is young and reckless. She always has a guy or two in the reserve. She studies wildlife and has exotic adventures in Patagonia, Alaska, and other places.The story spans twenty-five years, from 1980 to 2005, with each chapter alternating perspectives from the sisters. It's usually during some crisis or another when we pop into their lives.Honestly, I thought the writing was amazing...well usually. Sometimes her descriptions blew me away and her words just carried the novel. But it took me at least half of the book to get a somewhat good grasp on the sisters. I honestly liked both sisters but they both had faults. Louisa has a love/hate relationship with Clem, mainly stemming from jealousy. Clem always had it easy with guys and was always their mom's favorite. Clem seemed freewheeling but she always appeared to be running away from her jobs, her boyfriends...just constantly moving. And while the sisters are never truly close, they always seem to drift back together during a crises.Something was missing that made me love this book. I think it was how slippery the characters were. I don't feel like I ever really knew them. And sometimes the writing was a bit confusing. For instance, she'd describe things with animal terms but during the chapters with Louisa, the art person, narrating. And it would sometimes take me a while into a chapter to realize it was about Clem or Louisa, so that made it a bit confusing.But all in all I liked it. I have a sister so I sort of understand that love/hate/competition/support thing that sisters do. I'd recommend it for the writing which was usually just wonderful, the odd side characters, and the last few chapters which are just heart-wrenching.
oldblack on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
It's hard to know how to rate this book. It's essentially a story of two sisters who aren't terribly close but do often come together in times of personal stress. They don't, however, share the depths of their thoughts and emotions. They are both somewhat detached from each other, and therefore the reader (me!) also feels that detachment. I was kind-of expecting a great emotional involvement, but I got distance instead. That surely is the point of the story, and hence you'd have to say that Julia Glass has done a very good job of conveying that condition. I think she's trying to say that the relationship between two people, sisters in this particular case, has the potential to make life meaningful, but it's not automatic and there's a lot of obstacles in the way of such a redeeming connection. I think she's saying that obstacles might even be *more* substantial in the case of two sisters?The relationships of both women with a variety of men are also explored to some extent. That made me feel somewhat uncomfortable, as the sisters described inadequacies which I recognized in myself. Maybe these relationships could have been examined in greater detail...but this would require a significantly larger novel and a dilution of the focus on the sibling relationship.
datwood on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The story of two sisters, twisted apart by men and temperament, twisted together by birth and family. Louisa and Clement are nothing alike, and yet they share so many of the same things. Add to that a back story of a great-great-aunt and her sisters and you will find more ssisterly living than you know what to do with. If you have a sister you love, read this book. If you have a sister you hate, read this book. Another excellent book by the author of The Three Junes.
msbaba on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I See You Everywhere, the latest novel by Julia Glass, is a seriously flawed gem that will probably be appreciated best by those who are already ardent fans of the author's writing. Like her other two books, this novel is an exquisitely crafted reproduction of real life. In this case, the work is a meditative character study of two sisters and their evolving relationship over twenty-five years. The characterizations are outstanding, the prose lovely¿at times even breathtaking¿but what the book lacks is an overarching plot and tension within that plot. Although I am an enthusiastic fan of Julia Glass' works, it took me four months and three separate tries to work up the interest to finish this book. Only on the third try did I discover the key to keeping my interest aroused enough to complete it. For me, the secret was giving up trying to find a consistent thread of a plot. Instead, I just settled down to enjoy the author's prose on a page-by-page basis, expecting nothing from the plot as a whole. At that point, the work really started to blossom and delight me. I took great pleasure in each image and fictional real-life situation that the author created for me to visualize and experience. I started getting interested in getting to understand the two sisters and analyzing their ever-changing relationship. Indeed, I rediscovered how much I love Glass' writing: she has such an extraordinary ability to create reality with words!Of course by the time I finished the novel, I realized that there was, after all, a consistent thread that held the whole together. But that thread was ultimately too thin and bore no tension from beginning to end. Glass loves building each of her novels with a definite physical structure. Three Junes was a detailed character study of one unique character built on the structure of a triptych. This three-part structure was vital to the success of the whole. Each part could have stood on its own as a separate novella, but together the parts symbiotically created a far greater work allowing the reader to view the main character from three different perspectives. The Whole World Over was a thematic study of family and read like a collection of interlocking short stories. Its structure was a complicated three-dimensional Venn diagram. Its emphasis was fully on the theme of family, and thus it was groups of overlapping and intertwining families, and not individual characters, that Glass was trying to develop. With I See You Everywhere, the structure is a double helix. The double-twining structure is repeated throughout the work, most noticeably in the narration of two separate first person voices¿one for each of the two sisters. The structure is inventive, but Glass fails to make this motif live up to its possibilities. The whole double first person narration and intertwining lives seems forced and artificial¿Glass never quite pulls off the experiment. Throughout the reading experience, the architecture of the novel is always too apparent and detracts from the rich reality of the prose. If you are a fan of Julia Glass, by all means, read this book. There is great reward to be found in appreciating her prose and getting to know, appreciate, and understand the two main characters. But if you have never read any work by Glass, then I strongly urge you to read Three Junes first. That is by far her best work and is where you should begin.
hammockqueen on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
2 sisters of a different ilk reunite. one has cancer, the other loves bears and animals an ddies. she had tried to save a young bear cub with heart surgery.
bearette24 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I thought the writing in this book was wonderful. I like the way Julia Glass puts things and the observations she makes. They always have me nodding in recognition. I also thought she had a nice handle on the relationship between the sisters, and Clem was very likable. However, near the end, there was a tragedy that didn't feel like it was "earned."
miriamparker on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I read this in two days. I really adore Julia Glass' writing style.It's so smooth and full of beauty. I was surprised to see that the pieces in the book had originally been published as stories in other places, because they feel so cohesive. The only peeve I have with it, which is why it doesn't get 5 stars is that the first chapter has these really annoying POV shifts between the two sisters, both are in first person and the name of one of the characters is, bothersomely, Clement. So it is really, really distracting. But don't let this put you off. The rest of the book is a beautiful account of what it's like to be sisters.
malpower on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Once again, a beautifully written book by Julia Glass. And again, quite different from the first two books -- this story is about two sisters, very different sisters in almost every way, and their love-hate relationship over the years. The story is told picking up every few years with each sister filling in what has happened in their lives in the preceding years -- they DO lead rather eventful lives! One sister is a bit of a wild thing, a wildlife biologist, the other more sober and steady perhaps, an artist and a writer. There is humor and tragedy -- I found myself sitting in my backyard and quite unexpectedly sobbing at one point, hoping my neighbors couldn't hear me. Glass' books are even more interesting to me when I think that they're all considered to be autobiographical to a certain extent. Three Junes may have been my favorite, but I wasn't disappointed with I See You Everywhere.
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Interlude More than 1 year ago
I kept waiting for something to happen... I always finish a book. I read two other books while trying to get through this one. I'm giving the book away.
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Tiger-gal More than 1 year ago
I tried to get into this book, but the more I read, the less I related to the two sisters telling their stories. I kept waiting for something to happen, and by the time a tragedy struck, I didn't care. There was too much detail written on insignificant events and not enough on what I wanted to know about (Clem's mental health, Louisa's divorce, their relationships with their parents).
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Mommy_Wife_Me More than 1 year ago
This book is very depressing, It made me have the blues for a couple of days. Towards the end it gets a lil boring ,like who cares.Ending was really bad but I did have some favorite parts but all in all not something I would recommend. If you want to try it, loan it from the library, that's what i did
emilyp More than 1 year ago
I was excited about this book when I bought it, but very disappointed once I read it. The ending was terrible! I thought I would pass this book around to all my friends with sisters, but I wouldn't recommend it to any of them.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago